A five-year strategic plan to leverage maximum economic and social benefits from the £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal fund has been formally agreed.
The strategic business plan, which has been approved by the CCR Cabinet, details what is needed to achieve the long-term objectives of the CCR City Deal.
It also outlines the required actions and outcomes of the City Deal and how the £495m ‘Wider Investment Fund’ will be used over the next five years to drive the actions forward.
The overarching economic objectives of the City Deal are to create 25,000 new jobs and leverage £4bn in private sector investment.
Key themes have been identified to focus the approach: Skills and Employment, Innovation, Connecting the Region, and Regeneration and Infrastructure.
Supporting these strategic themes are three programmes, which were agreed at the Regional Cabinet meeting on February 12:
Regeneration and Infrastructure
The Housing Investment Fund has been proposed to support the need for more homes to be built across the region. The Fund will support house building, ranging from larger builders and developers on stalled housing sites on former industrial sites, through to small builders, community builders, custom builders and regeneration specialists, on small sites across the region.
The fund will also help stimulate the SME building sector across the region by providing loan development finance and launching a Customer Build Scheme releasing smaller plots of public sector land with a full package of support for SMEs to deliver new homes in the communities.
Connecting the Region
The digital strategy will help to make the area a “smart region,” driving innovative and disruptive solutions to attract private sector partnership and investment., including Welsh and regional connectivity, regional and community fibre connectivity, mobile 5G Access and maximising open data.
Skills and Employment
The Skills for the Future project supports the Skills and Employment theme and will provide region-wide school engagement with pupils and parents to offer careers advice and guidance, support for businesses to address barriers of participation, including a skills investment fund and a commitment to support delivery of over 10,000 additional apprenticeships, graduate internships and upskilled employees in the private sector.
The CCR City Deal aims to benefit to the whole of the CCR Region, which includes the 10 local authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan. The City Deal was formally signed by the ten leaders of the local authorities on March 1, 2017.
Of the £1.2bn City Fund, £734m has been committed to support the South East Wales Metro.
The Regional Cabinet of the 10 local authorities’ leaders have agreed two significant investments already. In May 2017, the Cabinet agreed to invest £37.9m to support the development of a compound semiconductor industry cluster in the region.
The project is expected to leverage up to £375m of private sector investment over the next five years, and the creation of up to 2,000 high value, high-tech jobs, with the potential for hundreds more in the wider supply chain and cluster development.
Last month, the Cabinet agreed to commit £40m to support in principle the £180m Metro Central Development, a project that will deliver a new Central Transport Interchange at the heart of Cardiff’s city centre Core Employment Zone.
Cllr Andrew Morgan, chair of the CCR Regional Cabinet and leader of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, said: “The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal is a unique programme of collaborative working which will enable economic change, improved digital and physical connectivity, improved skills and educational opportunities, and regeneration across the region.
“It is an investment in its people, and aims to bring fairness and opportunities for all, no matter where they live in the region. It builds on the region’s proud heritage, the beauty of our natural landscape, and the vibrancy of our rich cultural and social life.
“To do this, the City Deal partners will work together, with a clear vision of what life and its demands will look like in 20 years’ time, to ensure the Cardiff Capital Region maximizes its potential on a global stage.
“By attracting new investment and growing more successful businesses, by improving our connectivity, by developing our skills and education, we will restore the capital region to its historical role as the “engine room” of the Welsh economy.”
In order to unlock the investment funds required to take the CCR City Deal forward, the five-year Business Plan must be approved by all 10 local authorities that form the CCR Cabinet.
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